Iowa farmer connects his passions to consumers

Former Midwest Dairy Corporate Board Member Kelly Cunningham was featured in Iowa Food and Family’s Fresh Pickings magazine this winter. This consumer-facing publication sheds a positive light on many of Iowa’s commodity groups. This great profile delivers positive dairy messaging to consumers by sharing a compelling dairy environmental story. 

Cunningham started as a college grad with a doctorate in dairy cattle nutrition from Purdue University, saving for years to buy a dairy farm in Atlantic, Iowa. Today, he and his wife, Christy, operate Milk Unlimited in Atlantic, milking 3,400 cross mix of Holstein, Montbeliarde, and Swedish Red cows who reside in climate-controlled free-stall barns. The farm is a part of the Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), the largest cheese cooperative base in the U.S. Because their cattle produce milk with a higher butterfat and protein content, cheddar cheese is mainly their end product.

Sustainability is important on their farm, and in 2019 Cunningham was honored with the Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award, where the dairy farm was recognized for their outstanding care of livestock and the land. He was an early adopter of cover crops and a believer in using manure from his cows and steers to fertilize those crops. He truly believes sustainability must go beyond day-to-day practices and is a continuous process that not only keeps cows healthy but improves their longevity. 

Besides being an outstanding dairyman and steward of the land, Cunningham has a true passion for climbing. He has climbed three of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains in each of the seven traditional continents, and believes the same endurance it takes to run a dairy farm power his strides uphill. Learn more about his climbing adventures and read the full Fresh Pickings Magazine article here